There are always crazy rumors (some turns out to be true, believe it or not) circling every major comic book movie property. Batman, Superman, the X-Men — every single one. The rumors around the sequel to “Superman Returns”, to be called “The Man of Steel”, was that original director Bryan Singer would not be back for the sequel, a rumor based on the film’s less than spectacular reception by the general masses. Well screw that, says Singer himself, who confirms to Empire that he is indeed going to direct the sequel, and is currently in the development stages working with some writers on the project.
“That movie made $400 million!” Singer says incredulously. “I don’t know what constitutes under-performing these days…Look, I can understand, I suppose, what some people mean. Perhaps some people went in with the expectation of it being like an X-Men film, and Superman is a tougher character than that. Especially bringing him back. It really goes back to the fact that you can only please some of the people some of the time. But, yes, I’m just getting back with writers after the strike. We’re just in the development phase. I’m starting to develop a sequel…with the intention of directing it.”
Singer knows that there was some negative reaction to the fact that the first film focused more on story at the expense of action and is looking to redress that next time.
“The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film,” he says. “I’ll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels…Clearly there’ll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror! All those teenage girls who found the movie and mooned over James Marsden or Brandon? Well, I’m going to wake them up!” He may be joking about the unrelenting terror.
Here is my only beef with “Superman Returns”: while everyone was ga-ga over Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor, I thought the character turned the film into crap. Spacey’s Luthor was silly and corny and comic book-y, which may be weird to say, but “Superman Returns” was going for down-to-Earth human drama (or as down-to-Earth as you can get with a guy who can fly), and Luthor just brought the whole thing down to a juvenile, 10-year old cartoon level.
That’s my only beef with the film, not that it didn’t have enough action (it had plenty), or it was too focused on the drama (I loved that about it). If the only thing comic book geeks and fanboys wanted out of “Returns” was Superman punching bad guys, they should just go buy the comic book. That was a damn good movie, Kevin Spacey and the silly Kryptonite plot notwithstanding.
In any case, Singer has already said that the sequel will be more action-packed. Okay, fine, but just don’t do it at the expense of the characters and the drama. Knowing Singer, that won’t happen.